Various artists album review
09 - 11 - 2002
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
Braiding together what belongs together: between experimental reggae, dub-influenced laptop sounds, dubby remixes of Berlin fragility and exponents of the UK neo dub tradition, the Berlin-based label "Meteosound" (represented by Hamburg label Select Cuts) has joined the winding ways of a wide variety of dub experimentalists on a compilation.
Combining the best of both worlds with his "Meteosound Nights" at celebrated Berlin venue Maria Am Ostbahnhof, Meteo did not just organise blinding dancehall and reggae events with international favourites like Adrian Sherwood and Blood & Fire as well as local activists: at the same time he kept a close eye on the genre’s more eclectic frontiers, inviting artists such as Thomas Fehlmann, Alex Paterson, Rechenzentrum, Pole (on whose latest album "R" D. Meteo played guitar) and Monolake. Furthermore Meteo nurtures a far-reaching network of all songwriters, laptop and electronica experts with an affinity to reggae and dub.
The album takes an in-depth look at the broad spectrum of their activities. Overall, the tracks gathered here are listening music that is nevertheless capable of cooking up a storm on the dance floor, bursting with surprises in the down- and midtempo ranges while irreverently trying out everything short of cosy, huggy dub. With the exception of Sugar B’s "Sugar’s Authentic Dub Disco" all tracks are previously unreleased. What follows is a description of the tracks featured on this cd.
SUGAR B : SUGAR´S AUTHENTIC DUB DISCO (EDIT) After a short intro by Paul PM Viennese genius Sugar B kicks of the race. And the reason is simple: both experimental and deceptively relaxed his track manages to span the entire range from dubby present right back to the roots. According to the old dub reggae rule of maximum impact from little effect, Sugar B’s track is based on a digitally cut-up and re-arranged old school brass sample. Playing with echo this sample gains its very own rhythmic dynamic, conjuring up memories of an old, experimental dub hero: Lee Perry. In Vienna Sugar B is co-promoter of the Dub Club at Flex as well as the label Dub Club Records. Furthermore he has put out releases on G Stone and the Vienna Scientists compilation.
TIKIMAN : THE SOUND With his vocal contribution to the dub house of Berlin Rhythm & Sound (Burial Mix, Main Street) Tikiman immediately shot up in the estimation of progressive dub and techno fans. His subtle, almost ethereal voice proves a perfect fit for the deep tracks of these Berlin-based artists. Less known but by no means less exciting are Tikiman’s solo activities. With "The Sound” the well-versed studio boffin lets loose a steppa riddim not far removed from Jah Shaka, a synthesis of roots, multi-layered soundscapes and sparingly accentuated sounds of the clicks & cuts generation. As a singer Tikiman has appeared with, amongst others, Stereotyp (G Stone), Pre Fade Listening (Different Drummer) and Submission (Meteosound). On his own label False Tuned he releases broad, deep, truly wonderful reggae tracks.
RECHENZENTRUM + TTT : TETRIS Change of scene: Where Sugar B and Tikiman discover electronics from a reggae background, Rechenzentrum have taken the opposite approach. Software and electronica specialist Tom Thiel has run a bunch of technoid sounding Rechenzentrum basic files through a similarly abstract and hypnotic dubbification process, soaked in a concoction from the cauldron of current Berlin-based electronica. Rechenzentrum are staples on Berlin experimental techno label Shitkatapult and Kitty Yo, the latter recently published their highly praised CD "John Peel Sessions”. TTT/Tom Thiel is a member of Bus, Se Berlin and Sun Electric.
BUS : TREASURE ISLAND Together with Daniel Meteo Tom Thiel makes up Bus. Veering away from the abstraction displayed by the previous Rechenzentrum/TTT-track, this Bus output unfolds its unique charm through direct reggae references. When the hi-hat goes funky and the bass line pours its powerful groove, their deep and positively swinging laptop dub takes shape. A respectful nod to the source, the treasure island: Jamaica. In March 2002 Bus release their first 12” "Westen” on the Berlin-based abstract-tech-dub label scape which has also included Bus tracks on its compilations Staedtizism 2 and the upcoming No 3.
DNTEL : FEAR OF CORNERS (L.A. BUS MIX) Los Angeles-based programming wizards DNTEL are connected to the international dub-electronica diaspora via local label Plug-Research. The organic warmth of the previous track reaches its pinnacle in this Bus remix. Any dangers of emulating lightweight feelgood dub are thwarted by ricocheting noises and unforeseeable breaks in the track’s structure. Funky beat progression. With FIGURINE and other projects DNTEL member Jimmy has released on many labels.
THOMAS FEHLMANN : SEEROSENGIESSEN Even the title of Thomas Fehlmann’s track "Seerosengiessen" (watering the water lilies) hints at meditative activities. In fact, he combines a driving, but unobtrusive rhythm with pleasantly echoing sound layers. Concentration and melting away: sublime, hypnotic, deep. Thomas Fehlmann is an excellent good indicator for things to come. Still known to some as a member of Palais Schaumburg in the early 80s, he regularly collaborates with The Orb and released his last record on Kompakt. As a member of the Ocean Club (u.a. Gudrun Gut, Tom Thiel, Daniel Meteo) he is co-responsible for Ocean Club Radio (Radio 1 ORB, SFB) and a club in club concept with great, seminal nights (in the Berlin Volksbühne) as well as their creative definition of lounge (in WMF).
D METEO : RED ROOF With Red Roof the journey returns to an abstracted roots tradition. This track relies on the weight of its rhythmic base and the lightness with which a little organ tune and Meteo’s guitar mince all over it. Most recently, Daniel’s well-accentuated guitar could be heard on the latest Pole album.
TTT + D METEO : PERU "Peru” rests on a carpet of broadly echoing sound layers. The tradition continued by "Peru” is one of modern crackling, abstract dub, often connected with labels like scape or Plug Research. Therefore there is little reggae to be discovered, rather an updated version of mixing desk distortion introduced by a certain King Tubby.
MANASSEH + THE EQUALIZER : KING OF THE LAND After these digital distortions, allowing dub the status of mixing desk science, Manasseh + The Equaliser’s "King of the Land” is centred around song structure. "King of the Land” manages to sound minimal without exploiting the typical sounds of electronic minimalism. An expansive, deep tension is hidden within this track, reminiscent of the greatest moments of Keith Hudson’s seventies dub classic "Pick a Dub”. Nick Manasseh is one of the first active radio reggae selectas in Britain. As a producer he has worked with Response Rec., Acid Jazz Rec and Select Cuts. On this track, The Equaliser acts as co-producer.
A|B VS. MINA : A TO DUB The original track by Berlin band Mina, otherwise well known for their take on instrumental indierock disco, has undergone a major metamorphosis through AJB, resulting in a leisurely-paced bass and drum riddim. Only close listening will reveal the many tricky percussion effects .- their subtle funk makes up the real heart of this track. Mina have various releases on Berlin-based label Bungalow (Labels, Virgin) who also released the original remix (a to b) of which an AJB dub version can be heard on V.A. Meteosound.
BARBARA MORGENSTERN + THOMAS FEHLMANN : SHAZZI RIDDEM This track by Barbara Morgenstern and Thomas Fehlmann, too, reminds us of the classic early nineties digi dub. Their "Shazzi Riddem” digs down to the rhythmic core. Freed of all genre-connected sound effects a simultaneously essential and clearly contoured sound study takes shape. Barbara Morgenstern releases her very own version of pop, indie and electronic music on Gudrun Gut’s label Monika Enterprise.
SUBMISSION : M With their traditional line-up Berlin dub reggae formation Submission released their album "Play" in 2000. M is centred around hip hop grooves and hints of melodies. Estranged and re-shuffled in this remix they have created a totally new dramaturgy. SUBMISSION have collaborated with various singers, especially Tikiman, and have appeared in clubs throughout Europe as well as remixing Rootsman, Quarks, Meteo and others. They will soon begin to work with Al Haca (Berlin, Different Drummer).
JAH MEEK + THE ROOTSMAN: BEAUTIFUL WORLD As reggae veterans from the 80s The Rootsman and Jah Meeks have been immersed in tradition from the beginning. Allowing them the last word on this compilation is not just a reference to the source of dub music - "Beautiful World” is much more than just a footnote – in a very immediate way it picks up the spiritual side of reggae. The Rootsman can look back on an extensive career. He founded the Third Eye label and runs a dubplate studio in which he records the top ranks of Jamaican singers as well as producing the stars of UK dub, e.g. Muslimgauze, El Jethoor, Serious Dropouts, Earl 16, Daddy Freddy, Hammerbass, Disciples, Dayjah, Echo Minott, Anthony Johnson, He Man, Horace Andy, Freddie McGregor... and Jah Meek. Jamaica-born Jah Meek lives in Frankfurt and is a resident MC of Riddemwise in O25, a crew centred around Tricky Cris. Together with Gabriel Le Mar he makes up Banned X and works as a studio musician.
Excentric, fascinating, mind chilling and definitely worth while checking out!